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Police warn it’s illegal to fly your drone near a landmark

If you were one of the lucky people who got a drone for Christmas, careful where you fly it. The police have issued a warning that flying drones near landmarks or buildings is illegal.

The warning follows a spate of YouTube clips of people flying their drones near such landmarks as the London Eye, Tower Bridge and other London attractions. The police say there is also growing evidence that the devices are being used to spy on and harass people.

Chief inspector Nick Aldworth, of the Metropolitan Police’s specialist operations unit, warned people not to fly their drones in crowded areas. “I compare them to cars,” he told the London Evening Standard. “They are perfectly legal to own but it is very easy to break the laws when you are driving.

“Our concern is that in the New Year we will see a lot of these things being flown in London and there is a potential for people to wander into criminal territory. We also recognise that people will use these devices for criminal purposes and we want to send them a message too.”

Read more: French postal service successfully trials delivery by drone

So where can you fly your drone? According to the law, you can’t fly it within 150 metres of any congested area, or within 50 metres of buildings that you don’t own. So that’s most of London, unless you’re a Russian oligarch who owns half of it.

“One of the challenges is to get people to realise what is legitimate and what is stretching the boundaries of the law,” Mr Aldworth continued. “The message is do not bring these machines into central London, if you do you will be committing an offence. Do not fly them over football or other stadiums and certainly do not fly them anywhere near airports. The potential is there for a major incident.”

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